After the Uprising

The Activities of the general Daniel Konarzewski's Group in the East

Marek Rezler

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In the May offensive in Eastern Galicia, commanded by Gen. Józef Haller, an attack on Stryi was planned. The soldiers of Greater Poland attacked from the direction of Horodok towards the south east, liberating Buchyna, Uhry, Neuhof, Hodvyshnia, Sosnyna farm, Zavidovichi, Hoshany and Rudky. On the night of 15-16 May the Greater Poland troops were concentrated in Koropuzh and Zavidovichi, from which they attacked Komarno. Two days later, Mykolaiv, Budnyky and Pesochnoe, where military depots were located, were also in Polish hands. 800 prisoners-of-war were taken and seven cannons and twenty machine guns were captured.

After conquering Stryi and taking about one thousand prisoners of war, the Greater Poland soldiers were sent to Lviv for a rest. At the same time, preparations for the protection of their homeland region moved into the culmination phase, as a German invasion was expected. In turn, the situation in Lviv became clearer and the departure of Konarzewski’s group to Greater Poland would not leave the capital city of the Eastern Lesser Poland region under the threat of reoccupation by the Ukrainians. Thus, on 5 June 1919, a farewell ceremony to General Konarzewski's troops (since 1 June) took place on Lviv’s Citadel square. It ended with a military parade in front of the municipal authorities and members of the coalition mission. On 8 and 9 June, the Greater Poland troops reached Poznań. In recognition of their services, the Supreme People’s Council awarded them a band in the national colours with the inscription “For the Defence of the Eastern Borderlands” to go on the banner of the 1st. Greater Poland Rifle Regiment. The aeroplanes and cannons which participated in the Lviv expedition also received additional insignia: metal eagles with plates carrying the same inscription. On 14 June, Gen. J. Haller officially thanked the chief commander of the Greater Poland Army for his attitude during the May offensive.

On 3 April 1919, a field hospital was sent to Lviv under the command of Major Doctor Emanuel Twórz, and a wagon of beds and dressings were also delivered there. The departure of the National Defence Battalion (former People's Guard) was also planned, but implementation of this decision was suspended due to the German threat.

After the signing of the Versailles Treaty (28 June 1919), another period of fighting in Eastern Galicia began for the soldiers from Greater Poland. On 25 June 1919, the Entente states agreed to the military occupation of these areas by Poland. After obtaining guarantees from the Allied command in the face of the upcoming German invasion, as early as between 22 and 26 June, General Konarzewski's group was sent to Eastern Lesser Poland, though it was at that point composed of slightly different units: the 10th Greater Poland Rifle Regiment, the 1st battalion of the 1st Greater Poland Field Artillery Regiment, the 9th battery of the 1st Greater Poland Heavy Artillery Regiment, the 3rd Air Force Squadron, a sanitary company and signal troops and also ammunition columns (light and heavy) – in total 89 officers, 4353 privates, 1091 horses and 14 cannons. Konarzewski's troops were concentrated in the lower course of the Hnyla-Lypa River, from which, on the night of 27-28 June, they initiated an attack with the task of breaking through the Ukrainian Front and occupying Narayovychi-Mesto and Berezhany. After 2 hours of fighting, Belka, Kostenev and Yanchin were seized, and then Narayovychi-Mesto. Now on the offensive, on 3 July, the Greater Poland infantry seized Vyshnivchyk, Budaniv and Kopychyntsi on the Strypa River, almost without any fighting. On 15 July, with the support of artillery, the Greater Poland Group, drove out the Ukrainians on the other side of the Siret River and chased after them, managing to take Budaniv on the same day, and then on 16 July – Kopychyntsi. The last day of the Polish offensive was 17 July 1919. Konarzewski’s group, with the support of five Greater Poland batteries, took Husiatyn in a daring attack. The group stayed in this region until 6 August when its command was taken over by Colonel Leon Billewicz. On 7 August, the Greater Poland Group was assigned to the Volhynian Front and assigned to the command of the 3rd Rifle Division from the former army of Gen. J. Haller. In marches through Khorostkiv, Skalat and Zbarazh, the Greater Poland soldiers reached Teofipol and Moskalevka.

On 25 June, the third Greater Poland Air Squadron, under the command of Second Lieutenant Pilot Józef Mańczak, was also sent to Eastern Galicia. It carried out reconnaissance and bombardments of railway stations, e.g. the Tzhmelivka railway station was attacked and destroyed from the Berezhnytsia airport near Ternopil. On 19 August, the squadron returned to Greater Poland.





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